Spring is here, and festival season is in full swing! Something that occasionally takes place at an ADF festival is the ordination of a new priest, and these have taken place over the years at Trillium, Wellspring, Summerland, and Desert Magic, to name a few, for we in ADF have always performed our clergy ordinations in public.
Some of you may also have noticed that our ordination rites have changed a bit in the last few years, with the addition of a ‘charging the stole’ element after the new priest has spoken the oath.
What does this mean? Why is this important?
The stole is a symbol of the priest’s responsibility to the members of ADF, to their Patrons, and to themselves, all of who are present at the ordination. Someone carries the stole around the ritual space, holding it high for all to see. We ask the people in attendance to charge the stole and fill it with their blessings and good wishes, but more importantly, to fill it with the weight of the new priest’s responsibilities. We want our priests to be reminded of their oath to the Folk and to the Kindreds every time they place that stole upon their shoulders. It is a burden, not a sign of privilege. It marks out the priest as someone ‘different’ for the duration of a rite, someone performing public sacred duties, and also announces to the world that this person has had at least some verifiable training, just as Isaac always intended us to have.
Many of our priests who have undergone this part of the ordination rite report that after the charging, when the stole is finally placed upon their shoulders, they can actually feel its great weight, filled with responsibility, which is far greater than the weight of the cloth alone.